Sole Fitness has two very good spin bikes – the SB700 and SB900. They do look alike with the same styling and paintwork but there are some important differences.
We look at those in this comparison post including the one big obvious difference being the price with the Sole SB700 cheaper by $200 and look at why that it is.
In preparing this in depth comparison of these two bikes I’ve spent hours looking at each bikes features. I’ve check out their specifications, read through the listings on the Sole’s site, checked out the manuals, contacted sole Fitness to clarify anything I didn’t know and looked at the customer reviews.
I’ve then lined them up against each other and looked at the important items to give a complete compare and contrast of them so as to give a fully explanation the differences and what it means for the customer.
This post goes in depth into those differences, if you just want the numbers then check out our spin bike comparison page where we have listed all the bikes reviewed on the site to date in a table.
To begin here is a quick overview of the bikes:
It is fully adjustable to give a comfortable and efficient ride for those between 4 ft 10 inches and 6 ft 4 inches. It can accommodate safely anyone up to a maximum weight of 300 lbs.
The bike can be used in light commercial settings as well as at the home. It is a heavy bike coming in at 140 lbs to give a good solid basis to your ride.
It has friction resistance which is controlled by a knob at the top of the frame that gives incremental and continuous resistance to increase the intensity to the level you want.
It also includes a console that measures RPM, time elapsed, calories burned, speed and distance. It can also measure your heart rate if you supply a compatible heart rate strap. It’s great for motivation and keeping you in the best zone for an effective workout.
It is also fully adjustable to get the best fit for different shapes and sizes between the heights of 5 ft and 6 ft 2 inches. It is also specified to cater for people 300 lbs and under.
The resistance is magnetic which provides a very quiet experience. It does change incrementally as it is controlled by a tension knob at the top of the frame like friction resistance which makes it easy to get it to the level of hardness you want for your workout.
To keep it more maintenance free and quiet the bike uses a belt drive. It is going to be a very quiet riding experience where you won’t disturb others in your home even in the middle of the night.
It is constructed from steel giving you a stable riding experience which allows you to concentrate fully on your workout.
I’m going to go through the important features step by step detailing the differences. There are quite a few similarities which I mention as I go to help with the context but in the main my focus is on the differences.
Both bikes are stable and solid giving the basis for pedaling hard and jumping from seated to standing. There is no rocking or shaking no matter how intense the workout.
Both bikes don’t have levelers under the stabilizers which seems strange to me as most bikes include this so you can use the bike on uneven floors. So you do need a flat even floor to use the bikes unless you want to moving from side to side as you workout.
Both bikes are adjusted in the same way and have a full range of adjustment with handlebars and the seat being able to be adjusted horizontally and vertically. The adjustment is continuous so you can position the seat and handlebars exactly where you want and tighten in place – you are not restricted by pre-set holes in the pole.
From the information I have the SB700 does fit a wider range of people with it fitting people from 4 ft 10 inches to 6 ft 4 inches tall and the SB900 is restricted to people between 5 ft and 6 ft 2 inches tall.
A point of difference between the bikes is the type of resistance used. The SB900 has magnetic resistance with a manual knob at the top of the frame to set the level of intensity.
The SB700 adjustment method is the same but uses a kevlar pad (manmade hardwearing material) that sits on the top of the flywheel and uses friction for resistance. Both are incremental and continuous and you can set it to the amount of resistance you want.
Magnetic resistance is quiet and maintenance free as there are no touching parts whereas the friction resistance makes a small amount of noise and the pad wears down overtime. It will need replacing.
The resistance on the friction resistance can be turned up to impossible but with the magnetic resistance, if you are very strong rider or spinner, you may find it is not as difficult as you like it (but that is only for a very small proportion of people).
If you want to know more you can read more about the differences between magnetic and friction resistance here.
Both bikes have a belt drive. This give a maintenance free and almost noiseless riding experience. You may notice a different feel to the ride as it will be smoother than the one with the chain. At some point, in a few years time, the belt will loosen and need replacing but in the meantime there is nothing that needs to be done like you have with the chain drive.
If you want more detail in the difference between belt drives and chain drives you can read more here.
The SB900 comes with dual pedals for SPD shoes on one side and normal athletic shoes on the other side with toe cages and straps. If you want to use SPD specialist shoes for your workout then this saves you the trouble of replacing the pedals.
The Sole SB700 comes with pedals that have the toe baskets with straps that you slip your shoes into and tighten for grip (like one side of the dual pedals). You can change them out for specialist pedals if you want but that will cost you extra unless you already have a pair.
Both bikes have fixed gear which means that while the flywheel is moving the pedals are moving and you can’t freewheel so you can get the maximum amount of benefit from your workouts. You can stop the flywheel by pushing down on the tension knob if you want to get off quickly.
When it comes to noise the SB900 is much quieter with it all being whisper quiet due to the magnetic resistance. The SB700 isn’t noisy but it is louder due to the resistance pad making a shushing sound as it rubs the flywheel.
The SB900 is also going to be less dirty too as there is no dust being given off from the resistance but you may want an rubber exercise mat for both bikes to prevent any damage to your floors all the same.
The bikes are much the same when it comes to storage with the SB700 being 21 inches wide by 40 inches long and the SB900 31 inches wide by 40 inches in length. This gives the advantage to SB700 in this regards and it is lighter by 20 lbs too, making easier to move around.
They both can be tipped onto transport wheels at the front to make the moving of the bikes from place to place easier.
Assembly is the same for both bikes with them coming partially assembled. All the tools needed to complete the assembly are included and both should take less than 60 minutes to complete. The SB900 maybe slightly harder to complete because it is the heavier bike making it harder to hold in place while bolting the pieces on to the bike.
A good feature of both bikes is the inclusion of the console. It helps with motivation and tracking performance. It is basic and doesn’t include pre-set workout programs. Both bikes have the same console.
It measures RPM, calories burned, distance, time elapsed and speed. If you supply an ANT+ compatible heart rate strap you can monitor your heart rate too. The console is easy to read and set up. It appears to be sweat proof.
If you do want to track progress over time you are going to need to keep a record manually as it doesn’t have the ability to upload to your computer or internet account.
Not much to say here. They both only have a dual water bottle holder at front of the handlebars. Which is a good place for storing your water bottles as it is out of the way of most of the seat. But that is all you get in terms of accessories.
The SB900 has a number of premium features over the SB700. To start with it is heavier for a more durable ride. It also has magnetic resistance which provides you with an almost silent riding experience and maintenance free bike. It also has dual sided pedals so you can use either normal athletic shoes or specialist SPD shoes with cleats. The magnetic resistance do change the riding experience slightly but it does mean you can ride at anytime of the day or night and watch the TV in peace with only your breathing probably disturbing the silence.
It is these features that you are paying the extra for and they do provide a better experience but you will still get a very good spinning or training experience with the SB700. Some people prefer resistance pads.
As mentioned in the price section the main differences between the bikes are the resistance (SB700 friction, SB900 magnetic) and the pealds (SB700 toe cages, SB900 dual pedals). The SB900 is heavier which gives it a more solid footing for workouts and durability.
Both bikes are highly rated. The SB900 is more expensive and it is overall a better bike. Having said that both bikes give you the basis for working out as intensely as you want for a good number of years trouble free.